Passion Pit Manners Review

Album. Released 2009.  

BBC Review

So huge, inspiring and bright is their sound.

Lou Thomas 2009

In 2008 Passion Pit's auspicious six-track EP, Chunk Of Change, sparked feverish excitement on both sides of the Atlantic.

Early adopters were quick to embrace songs which mixed the warm, melodic intent of The Beach Boys, the studied electro cool of MGMT and the organic euphoria of The Polyphonic Spree and The Magic Numbers.

Although only the marvellous Sleepyhead from the EP made it on to Manners, the rest of this debut album is so damned life-affirming Passion Pit could be forgiven even if the only format it was available on was 8-track.

Hearing Eyes As Candles and its wordless chorus reference 80s glam-pop stars like Hall & Oates in a more joyous way than contemporaries like Empire Of The Sun and Black Kids is a pleasure.

Folds In Your Hands conversely has a wondrous tone reminiscent of Kate Bush's Running Up That Hill crossed with Funk D'Void tech house.

Frontman Michael Angelakos is key: a man whose high voice sounds gleeful rather than silly and he's ably assisted by the rest of the Cambridge, Massachusetts band.

Ayad Al Adhamy is particularly savvy with his synths and samples on Sleepyhead. Only the toughest of brutes won't crack a smile when hearing the ethereal sample from Irish harpist Mary O'Hara’s Oro Mo Bhaidin.

Make Light showcases resolute bass work from Jeff Apruzzese, while Nate Donmoyer's drums shine throughout but nowhere better than the crashing might of lead single The Reeling.

Unquestionably one of the greatest songs of 2009 The Reeling features terrific crashing beats, swoonsome keys and a euphoric vocal with lines like, ''I can feel the madness inch by inch/ the more I run the more I am convinced''. It's typical of Passion Pit's inclusive sound. They always sound like they're having a great party and everyone's invited.

They could be Mercury Rev or Arcade Fire reworked for ravers or they could be rabid evangelical Christians looking for a deluge of converts - so huge, inspiring and bright is their sound.

Regardless of Passion Pit's reasons for the arms-aloft nature of their songs, the musical landscape would be far greyer without them.

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